Jeffrey Dahmer: What is true about the Netflix series “Dahmer” – and what is fiction


The Netflix series about Jeffrey Dahmer is currently one of the most watched series in Germany. Officially, it is based “on true facts”. But how much is really real about the series?

A serial killer murders 17 people in a short time, escapes the police several times and lives completely undetected in an apartment building until he is arrested: The Netflix series “dahmer” wants to make us believe exactly that – but can it really be true? We show the really true events and the cinematic embellishments.

Who Was Jeffrey Dahmer?

Dahmer is not a fictional character. In fact, he is one of America’s most notorious serial killers. Dahmer was born in Milwaukee in 1960. As in the series, his childhood was difficult: his mother had mental problems, his father was focused on his career and also had no time for Jeffrey. After the birth of his brother, his parents finally separated, and Jeffrey responded with violent acts in the adjacent forest.

In his youth, Dahmer discovered his homosexuality and also violent sex fantasies that escalated to necrophilia. In high school, on the one hand, he became conspicuous through alcohol and drug abuse, but on the other hand, he behaved in an exemplary manner towards adults. Among other things, he was even able to give his class a tour of the office of the Vice President of the United States to organize.

As in the series, his biography then continues: Dahmer first enrolls at Ohio State University, but rarely attends any courses there. After he is thrown out of college, his father urges him to do military training. There he falls again drugs and alcohol up.

At the age of 20, Dahmer moves to Miami Beach, but can no longer pay his rent there and therefore moves back to his father Ohioanother year later to his grandmother.

Was Dahmer really exposed by his neighbor Glenda Cleveland?

In the series, Dahmer is arrested because his neighbor Glenda Cleveland repeatedly intervened because of the impertinent smell coming from the ventilation shaft in the apartment next door.

In reality, that can’t have happened because Glenda Cleveland lived in a completely different building. In reality, his neighbor Pamela Bass lived right next to Dahmer, and she later reported that Dahmer distributed meat sandwiches.

However, Cleveland also helped solve the crimes, as she called the police when she saw Konerak Sinthasomphone on the street. The series mixes both people into one character.

Did Dahmer attack a jogger?

This scene is only partially true: The real Dahmer stated in his interrogations that he did in fact plan early on to attack a jogger near his home. In the series, he actually lies in wait with a baseball bat and eventually brings the jogger to his house. In reality, this act probably never took place, the series embellishes Dahmer’s imagination.

Did the police send a victim back to Dahmer?

In the series, young Konerak Sinthasomphone was picked up outside the home by neighbors and the police. In the situation, Dahmer managed to convince the police officers that Sinthasomphone was of legal age and just drunk. The officials didn’t ask any more questions and radioed to headquarters that they had to be “deloused”.

This incident actually happened. As in “Dahmer”, both officers were initially fired, but were later transferred back to the police service as a result of a judgment and were able to make long careers there.

It is also true that Dahmer had already molested Sinthasomphone’s brother before Konerak, but had made no connection between the victims. In contrast to the series, however, Dahmer stated that he met Konerak Sinthasomphone in the “Grand Avenue Mall” and not in front of an alcohol store.

Was Dahmer really interviewed on TV after the conviction?

A moment in the series shows the already convicted Dahmer appearing on television with his father. There are even arguments with the victims’ families about possible royalties and the distribution of the income.

As absurd as it sounds to ask a prison inmate for a TV interview, this actually happened a number of times. Among other things, Dahmer himself was interviewed for 30 minutes in 1993 on the TV show “Inside Edition”. His father also appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show.

Did Dahmer really want to implement a lobotomy?

The series shows how Dahmer is said to have attempted a lobotomy with a drill on one of his victims – i.e. open brain surgery.

The “real” Dahmer actually confessed to the crime after a coroner found four victims had conspicuous skull and brain injuries. Dahmer claimed to have drilled holes in their skulls and injected hydrochloric acid or hot water.

The goal of the cruel experiments: The victims should thereby belong to him as willless sex slaves. Ultimately, none of his victims survived the surgery.

Did Dahmer really dissect animals with his father?

One of the main threads in the series is Dahmer’s joint dissection of dead animals with his father when he was young. In fact, after the family moved to a rural area at the age of eight, Jeffrey Dahmer began collecting small dead animals and sometimes placing them in formaldehyde.

About two years later, Dahmer asked his father what would happen if you put poultry bones in bleach. Excited by his son’s interest in science, his father Lionel actually collected dead animals with Jeffrey Dahmer.

Why did Dahmer have to go to prison and not to a clinic?

Several experts appeared at the hearing who made different statements about Dahmer’s state of mind. Several defense experts argued that Dahmer was not of sound mind. The public prosecutor’s office unanimously disagreed with this thesis, but agreed with a borderline diagnosis.

Ultimately, the jury ruled by a ten-to-two vote that Dahmer was sane in his actions, sending Dahmer to prison.

Sources: Netflix, “The Oprah Winfrey Show”, “Milwaukee Journal”, Wikipedia

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